The Sunshine Coast is a very popular destination for Aussie families, and no wonder. There are so many things to do with kids at the Sunshine Coast that you could visit for a week a year and never run out of fun stuff to do.
In fact the range of activities can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re planning your first trip to the Sunshine Coast, this post should help you make some plans.
Of course it’s also vital to plan plenty time just splashing at the beach or in a pool. Building sandcastles is also an essential part of the holiday!
We’ve visited the Sunshine Coast several times as a family (see links to our previous posts at the end of this one.)
I’ve also done a couple of girls-only trips to Noosa plus one recent press trip. So here’s my pick of what to do.
Try Coolum Surfing School and see how fast the kids can get up and start surfing. You might find it a bit trickier yourself!
On every Wednesday and Saturday at Eumundi, these artisan markets work well for all the family. There are so many items on sale that would delight child – and lovely grub too.
Hours: Saturdays 7am – 2pm Wednesdays 8am – 1.30pm
Address: 80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi QLD 4562Phone:(07) 5442 7106
The Ginger Factory
Just inland in the town of Yandina is The Ginger Factory. There’s SO much to do at this complex. You can learn all about how ginger is grown and processed, see inside the secret world of bees, ride the fantastic train around the property even enjoy a water ride based on the Disneyland ‘It’s a Small World’ ride. There’s also a large cafe, ice cream bar plus some very cool shops.
Entry to The Ginger Factory itself is free then you can pay to see some of the attractions.
Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World
A visit to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a must, and when there do check out these spectacular gardens and the huge variety of exotic and native birds. There are llamas too!
If your children love wildlife then the Sunshine Coast has a couple of great options. There’s Australia Zoo, the best known, plus there’s also Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World up in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
You (and I) may know that birds would be happiest when free to swoop and fly in their own natural habitat. But kids do learn a lot from close encounters with animals.
The aviary is over 1000 square metres and is home to about 300 birds, so there is space for them to swoop around – and they do. They’ll also land on your shoulders and head!
There’s also the magnificent Gardens to explore, plus family-friendly bushwalks and plenty of space to run and play. Plus cream teas!
Again there’s masses to see at this legendary home of the best of Australian wildlife. An absolute must-see if the wildlife hospital which treats injured native animals and is separate to the hospital where the zoo’s residents go when sick.
You do need to pay a bit extra to visit, but it’s fascinating and well worth it too. It’s also a heartbreaking visit and a shock to realise that 50 koalas a month are injured by cars. You can chat to the nurses and vets and all the family will learn heaps about the threats facing wildlife in Queensland.
We saw the Wildlife Warriors show in the famous Crocoseum, this nearly gave me heart failure several times!
Endless adventures await the entire family at one of Australia’s most beloved theme parks, where all types of fun cater to everyone’s tastes.
Located on the Sunshine Coast, Aussie World boasts an array of rides and attractions, including classic family favourites, heart-pumping excitement, and fresh, never-before-seen experiences.
If action-packed thrills are what you’re after, be sure not to miss the Dingo Racer, the latest major attraction to open at Aussie World, closely following the SX360. This addition further broadens the park’s appeal, catering to everyone from little tackers to entire families and adrenaline junkies. Now, there’s no excuse not to pay a visit!
Though family-friendly, the Dingo Racer is still considered a thrill ride due to its speedy pace, sharp turns, and the cars’ unique spinning feature as they zip along the track.
You’ll find an assortment of family-friendly rides that’ll leave you soaked, dizzy, and eager for more – from simulators and slides to bumpers and coasters!
The iconic Ballroom Blitz has made a triumphant return, while a revamp of the Retro Rocket brings even more novel experiences to the park.
After a day full of excitement, head to the Fun Café for some snacks, lunch, ice cream, or a refreshing drink. And before you leave, don’t forget to grab a fantastic souvenir show bag from the Fun Shop!
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of coming face-to-face with the most amazing marine life. Nestled in the heart of Mooloolaba, right in the centre of Queensland’s renowned Sunshine Coast, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is the region’s ultimate family attraction.
Plus, it’s an easy drive from Brisbane and opens during the school hols, making it a ripper way to keep the kids entertained.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the main Esplanade at Mooloolaba Wharf, the multi-award winning SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast is home to a massive array of creatures, including sharks, seals, turtles, stingrays, otters, sawfish, tropical fish, and heaps more.
Spread across three levels, you can explore 11 interactive animal zones full of fun.
Don’t miss the unforgettable Seal Island seal encounter, where you’ll enjoy a seal presentation and even have the chance to swim with these playful creatures. You can also visit the only colony of Little Blue Penguins on the Sunshine Coast.
Wander through the 80-metre-long Ocean Tunnel and be mesmerised by the sharks, rays, reef fish, and more swimming above you. Check out one of Australia’s largest collections of jellyfish at the Jellyfish Kingdom.
And don’t forget to stop by the seahorse sanctuary and the Tidal Touch Pool to get up close and personal with tropical fish.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a stunning 55-hectare patch of National Estate-listed subtropical rainforest that boasts incredible views of the Glasshouse Mountains.
This reserve is a surviving remnant of the rainforests that once blanketed the Blackall Range and serves as a living showcase of the diverse plants and animals found in the area. It is sure to impress you with its serenity and natural beauty.
Take a trip back in time at the discovery centre, enjoy a stroll along the rainforest tracks, have a barbie or picnic, or kick back at the local café.
The Big Pineapple
The Big Pineapple, a national tourism and food icon, can be found on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Boasting a 16-metre fibreglass pineapple structure, the Big Pineapple historically attracted over a million visitors a year, making it the most popular tourist attraction in Australia.
It also houses a popular zoo, the TreeTop Challenge high ropes and zipline course, and a successful events program.
With an ever-growing collection of animals at Wildlife HQ and events like our craft beer and cider expo, there are plenty of reasons to rediscover the new Big Pineapple experience.
More things to do with kids on the Sunshine Coast
Read up on all there is on offer on the excellent Visit Sunshine Coast website.
Kids on the Coast is an terrific magazine and website for local families. A search through the site will give you heaps of ideas on child-friendly cafes, restaurants and activities.
So that’s just a taste really of what’s on offer. It’s where you can start planning your trips.
If you’ve never taken the family to the Sunshine Coast, delay no longer!
Happy holiday planning!